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maybe several copies for "hardball" fans. you know and love those people. give them a book. you "hardballers" go at it this weekend. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts now. good evening from new york. happy friday. i'm chris hayes. one day after the death of south africa's anti-apartheid leader and founding father, tributes and remembrances are rolling in from leaders from all over the world and across the ideological spectrum. from vladimir putin who praised mandela's commitment to humanism and justice. to benjamin netanyahu who called him one of the outstanding figures of our time, to iran's president, rouhani, who praised his belief in the freedom and equality of all humans. pretty much every leader in between. in the u.s. the same thing is happening. emotional eulogies have been pouring in from bill clinton to
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both presidents bush, from susan rice to condoleezza rice, everyone is celebrating the life and mourning the loss of mandela. even arguably the most conservative member of the united states' senate today, ted cruz, released a heartfelt statement saying mandela live live in history for defenders of liberty around the globe because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now fre. senator cruz also posted that statement to his facebook page, and that is where the illusion of the bipartisan universally accepted respect and regard for mandela and the movement evaporated. the comment thread that follows ted cruz's respectful eulogy is not pretty. it's just teeming with stuff like this. go home, ted, you're drunk. he was a communist terrorist who targeted people for no other reason than being white. stunned to see you support this scumbag. mandela was a murderer and a terrorist not to mention a communist and also a huge supporter of abortion. don't put him up too high.
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fdr and pol pot are also dead. they don't deserve a positive eulogy either. for an outsider unfamiliar with conservatism and its record on race and apartheid, this open racism and contempt for an internationally revered figure like nelson mandela might be surprising. but that comment thread is just the capstone on a very long luckily dwindling tradition. think progress is out with a handy guide today detailing much of the conservative cannon on south africa like in the 1960s when mandela was sentenced to life in prison and the national review opined, quote, the south african court have sentenced a batch of admitted terrorists to life in the penitentiary. and you would think the court had just finished barbecuing st. joan. to hear the house and the liberal press. in the 17 -- 1970s, the government on economic grounds. in the 1980s, the late jerry fall we fallwell urged them to tell them to oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime telling them,
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quote, sanctions against south africa will hurt the blacks much more than the government or anyone else. in the '90s as mandela prepared to visit, the heritage foundation warned americans that quote have reasons to be skeptical of him and arguing the quote mandela is not a freedom fighter. but it hasn't just been pundits and commentators. the modern conservative movement's most sainted hero, ronald reagan, took that movement and made it american government policy. he did it even as outrage over the crimes of apartheid grew around the world and here in the u.s. >> in south africa, the black township of soweto was invaded. as many as six people were reported killed today, but there was no way to confirm that number. south african government censorship limited the details of this report now by nbc's mike boettcher. >> reporter: before daybreak in the box houses, vigils were held
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from the dead from last week's violence. parents, relatives and friends jammed into rooms where they prayed to the dead of each house and waited for the mass funeral that police had forbidden. at least 20 of the dead had been shot by police. >> in that context, in a world that knew that that's what it was like to live under apartheid rule, ronald reagan resisted a push by congress to join europe and the rest of the world taking concrete action to pressure south africa to end apartheid and release nelson mandela from prison. >> reporter: today's speech was supposed to head off congressional demands for sanctions, but the effect may have been exactly the opposite. because the president gave no ground on south africa. dismissing the growing call for sanctions as an active folly. >> if congress imposes sanctions, it would destroy america's flexibility, scarrdis our diplomatic leverage and deepen the crisis. we must stay and work, not cut and run. >> reporter: the speech was carefully balanced. the president condemning
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repression by the white government but also terrorism by blacks. with his plan to name a black ambassador now on hold, mr. reagan was left proposing ref m reforms south africa, a timetable for end ago part hide, release of political prisoners including mandela and discussions with black groups including the african national congress. the president stressed all south africans must work out their future together. >> as one african remarked recently, southern africa is like a zebra. if the white parts are injured, the black parts will die, too. >> and reagan did have some allies in congress. >> by intruding into the affairs of the south african government, we are shooting the farmers of america in the foot. and i will have no part of it. >> in the end, for all of ronald reagan's charisma and persuasive ability, for all his sway over
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congressional republicans, both houses of congress voted to impose the sanctions. and even after reagan vetoed the measure, both the house and senate went back and voted to override his veto. and it wasn't just the usual suspects fighting reagan. the senate was controlled at the time by republicans. this was an open revolt from his own party. >> we are against tyranny, and tyranny is in south africa. and we must be vigorous in that fight. >> today's vote is today's generation saying no to the incipient holocaust of our times. >> 31 senate republicans voted to override reagan's veto. among them, this fresh-faced young senator from kentucky. >> i think it's now time to put a law in the books. i think it's now time to put a law on the books even if we have to do it over the prosecutes's veto. >> there are two lessons here, what's in retrospect more
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obvious at the time at least not to every. there are people flight who will be caught on the wrong side of history on something we are debating at this moment. there's also this. people can be persuaded. there is such thing as moral evolution. if reading ted cruz's kmint thread makes you despair for humanity, think about how remarkable it is that ted cruz, ted cruz, wrote that statement in the first place, given his place in the conservative movement and the conservative movement's place on this issue just 10 or 20 years ago. joining me now is congresswoman maxine water, democrat from california. she was a leader of the anti-apartheid movement in the u.s. and met mandela at the ceremony in 1998. congresswoman, can you walk us through that fight in 1986? how did it build to the point where this went from an issue that was being fought at the grass-roots level on campuses and cities to something the u.s. congress took up. >> well, as you know, the black south africans themselves really began to resist the repression,
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began to resist apartheid, led by nelson mandela and winnie mandela, all of these great men and women, many of whom was forced into exile but continued the struggle. it caught fire. they began to educate and send their anc representatives out of the country and all over the world talking about what was going on. i introduced legislation in the california state assembly where i was serving to divest all of our pension funds from businesses that were doing business in south africa. that caught fire. and investment started all over the united states in various legislatures. the young people on the college campuses started to march and rally. transafrica forms and began to sit in at the south african embassy. we closed down the south african
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council here in los angeles, so the movement took hold. and we added to that the sanctions, the rallies, the protests, the education about what was going on, and it brought apartheid to an end. >> yeah, i think the key point if that is the grass-roots movement of divestment as the predicate to sanctions. it became the national government's policy version of what universities and cities and states and all sorts of cities were working on on a grass-roots level. i want to bring in thomas frank, author of "the wrecking crew." tom, there's an amazing chapter in that book that is about the nexus between movement conservative, particularly in the 1980s, and if not pro-apartheid movement, the anti-anti-apartheid movement, that the big issue on campuses particularly was the south african government, anti-apartheid, liberals and leftist opposing it and conservatives rising up in its defense. what did that nexus look like? >> it's good that you put it
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that way, anti-anti-apartheid because that's exactly what these people were. they would never actually come out and try to rationalize apartheid or try to sell apartheid to an american audience. i mean, that basically couldn't be done. but there were plenty of conservatives that had other ways of rationalizing it, the other one being the cold war, right? south africa was surrounded by hostile countries. if you asked a south african government to describe its enemies, p would always say they're communists. everyone surrounding us is a communist, you know. the anc is communist. and we've got to, you know, to struggle to defeat communism. in fact, it was an interesting country, you know, the apartheid regime. in some ways they were -- you know, they had this vision of the world as a gigantic communist conspiracy that was very familiar to a lot of american conservatives. >> i want to look at -- congresswoman, i want to read this headline, they put this up today. this was kind of an ab amazing
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revelation that came out in 1995. think tank was a front for apartheid. a conservative think tank with ties to jesse helms and other prominent republicans was actually a front for south africa's white rulers urg did the last days of apartheid, "new york news day" reported sunday. congresswoman, one of the shocking things about that '86 fight is how hard the south african government directly lobbied american senators, american lawmakers, the kind of propaganda arm of the apartheid government operating here in the u.s.? >> absolutely. one of the things we have to come face to face with and understand is you had had a white south african government, a very rich basically government and country that was doing well, and they were selling that these blacks are murderers. these blacks are rioting. these blacks are crazy. and you've got to help us and understand that we're trying to keep peace in our country. but these outrageous people are out to kill us. and so when white governments
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like that sell that story, particularly at that time, they tend to be believed by even the conservatives here in the united states. >> tom, do you think that the conservative movement has had a reckoning with its relationship to apartheid? i've been heartened, and my perspective on this is you welcome changes of heart with open arms. i'm glad to see the conservatives are no longer in the anti-anti-apartheid camp, but do you think it's had a reckoning with what it had with the government? >> some of it, but we haven't gotten into the really ugly details here like there were certain conservatives that would go on tours of south africa. there were conservatives that loved the gold standard because it was a backdoor way of subsidizing it. there were conservatives that loved the puppet strong man, you know, i'll never get over that one. there were conservatives here in america who thought that, you know, the bantu stance was a
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really good idea. it was like setting up little free market experimental territories, you know. we never talk about that stuff anymore. i mean, my god, the denunciations of the anc at the time. it was as though these people were, you know, were like, you know, the cultural revolution in china. it was just this sort of unthinkable thing that was sweeping down on an allied government. and then you look at them now. it's fine. it worked out just fine. >> right. and the remarkable thing is that reconciliation that happens, and the forging of this kind of multiracial national identity that mandela is now being praised for, that only came after this epic struggle. maxine waters who was an absolute vanguard in that fight and thomas frank from harper's, thank you so much. >> you're so welcome. when we come back, another installment of our bizarro congress series. stick around for that. is it africa?
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he is a man that shows what forgiveness can do. many men in the 20th and 21st century were famous. few are great. nelson mandela became one of the greatest. good economic news on this friday, the latest jobs report is out showing a better than expected 203,000 jobs added to the economy in the month of november with the unemployment rate dropping to 7%. this is now the lowest unemployment rate we've seen since the financial crisis. it comes on the heels of revisions that show the economy growing last quarter at one of the fastest rates since the onset of the great recession. at this pace, 2013 will be the best year for job creation since 2005.
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congress, of course, still has it in its power to screw things up. but it also has the power to make things better. one of the most persistent bedevilling problems with job creation throughout this entire recovery has been that low-wage jobs have accounted for half of job creation in the past three years according to analysis through april of this year. and congress, if it wanted to, could do something about that today. it could vote to raise minimum wage. and president obama would sign it immediately. so we have reached into the alternate reality in which that happens and we present the latest installment of our series in which those lawmakers go ahead and do right by america's workers. ♪ >> reporter: good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. tremendous news out of washington today. the house has voted to raise the minimum wage with stunning bipartisan support. >> the questions on passage, the ayes have it. >> reporter: today, house
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republicans finally gave into the will of the american people and passed the fair minimum wage act of 2013. after months of intense grass-roots pressure from walmart workers, retail workers, to yesterday's largest-ever fast-food workers strike for higher wages, the house finally voted to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. >> you put your finger on the pulse of america because americans want fairness. >> reporter: republicans cited overwhelming public support as the impetus for action. arguing that the majority of americans in 62% of republicans support raising the minimum wage and that that forced their hand. >> the american people have spoken, and i know i made a commitment to listen to them, and finally we are doing that. >> reporter: the bill will next go to the senate where its pa passage is all but assured. >> this is an opportunity for the senate to return to the finest traditions of this body. where we listen to and fight for
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the american people. >> reporter: confident that the legislation will reach the president's desk, the house speaker was triumphant. >> we had a victory today for the american people. and frankly, we also had a victory for common sense. >> yeah. >> reporter: democrats who have championed a wage increase cheered the house. >> i have congratulated the republicans. >> the republicans stepped up and acted as adults. >> i want to commend both sides of the aisle for working towards an agreement. >> reporter: low-wage workers celebrate. >> this will allow me to work just one job, spend more time at home with my wife, be able to go back and finish my education hopefully. >> reporter: over the last 40 years we've watched the minimum wage's value plummet from its highest point in 1968 to where it stands today at $7.25 an hour. $3.25 lower than what it should be if it had kept pace with inflation. >> we need minimum wage to go up so that way we can survive.
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>> reporter: the fair minimum wage act when signed will bring income back above the poverty line for a family of three, raise of the wages of about 30 million people, affecting the lives of some 15 million children who have a parent working a minimum-wage job. >> increasing the minimum wage to a livable wage is really the only humane option we have. >> reporter: it would also have profound effects on the economy. >> it's good for our country, and it's good for our economy, and it's good for the american people, especially those who are looking for work. >> reporter: raising the minimum wage to over $10 an hour would increase gdp by over $32 billion, create almost 150,000 new jobs, cut food stamps spending by billions. >> we can't survive on $7.25. >> reporter: as workers increase wages mean they no longer have to depend on the government for help. >> yes, today the house took a heroic first step towards lifting the minimum wage closer to a living wage. democracy in action is indeed a beautiful thing.
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>> joining me now back in our reality is associate professor of political science and international public affairs at columbia university. dorian, this could happen tomorrow. there is a lot of support publicly in polling, it's remarkable popular. there's strong support in the democratic caucus on both sides of the aisle -- both houses, and the president has come out, and he's been talking about it a lot recently, the only obstacle is the house republican caucus. >> that's right. and the president, remember, started at $9 an hour and has agreed to sign off on $10.10 an hour if that bill were to pass. and as we know, this week he gave this big speech on income inequality and talked about those fast-food workers and other low-wage workers. you're right, the our most un-democratic institution, the senate, which is the final stumbling block here. >> you think the senate actually more than the house? >> i'm sorry, thank you for that correction. >> the house. >> i was still in "bizarro world." if you could just replay that every day, maybe it will become reality, i'm sorry. right.
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it's the house republicans that are -- >> right. >> -- holding this up. >> who got 3 million less votes in the last election. >> and remember, as you pointed out, over a majority of republicans actually support an increase in the minimum wage. so there is overwhelming consensus among the american p ub on this issue. >> there's dual tracks here. there's a kind of inside strategy with the progressive caucus pushing for this and even kind of main street democrats. then you've got this fight for 15. these are the fast food worker strikes. there was the biggest yet yesterday. they've been spreading. how do you think those two are interacting with each other? >> i think there are a couple things going on. social movements and protests in disruption is always great at getting issues on the national political agenda that normal politics doesn't allow. so if anything, we're having a sustained discussion about income inequality -- >> it's on every cable news network, it's on cnbc. >> even fox. it's everywhere. so one, we're talking about it, and there's legislation. but two, we are seeing actual legislative victories at the
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state and local level. so we're building up place by place momentum hopefully for some national changes. and in fact, if the federal government refuses to act, we're still going to be working to raise wages at the state and local level all around the country. >> yeah. the fast food worker fight is a fight that's actually about unfair labor practices being allowed to organize and form unions so that workers can bargain collectively for their own interests and for wage increases. but we're also seeing -- there was a clip from our "bizarro congress." not to pull the curtain back too much. there's a guy talking about how he's going to feed his family. that's from an airport worker in sea-tac, the seattle-tacoma airport. it's a little town that has the airport in it that voted by a squeaker to rage the raise there quite a bit. >> to $15 an hour. is the sky going to fall in sea-tac? it didn't happen on san francisco. it hasn't fallen on the state of washington which had, until recently, the highest
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state-level minimum wage at $9.19. we have empirical evidence all around the country that when you raise the minimum wage, the job -- the employment effects are negligible. in fact, arguably it's good for business, and it's good for taxpayers because those low-wage workers don't have to rely on food stamps as much. $7 billion a year according to a uc-berkeley study in terms of public subsidies. just in fast food. >> $7 billion a year. >> so it saves taxpayers money, but it's good for business. >> right. because they go out and then they spend things at best buy. >> and walmart, they buy more burgers at mcdonald's. and if mcdonald's workers could make $15 an hour, they could actually buy more hamburgers at a higher cost than what they can do on the minimum wage. >> that was forward thinking about paying his workers so that they could afford to buy a ford. dorian, thank you so much. coming up, here's bill o'reilly talking about nelson mandela last night. >> he was a communist, this man.
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>> yeah. >> he was a communist. all right? but he was a great man. what he did for his people was stunning. he was a great man. but he was a communist. >> so actually, the amazing thing about that clip is that it's not clear bill o'reilly's wrong. we will talk about the parts of mandela's life that are being left out. ahead. [ tires screech ] ♪ [ male announcer ] 1.21 gigawatts. today, that's easy.
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mr. speaker, what advice do
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you and other republican leaders give to your members when they're going up against women candidates, and frankly when they're trying to appeal to women voters? >> i try them to be a little more sensitive, you know. you look around the congress, there are a lot more females in the democrat caucus than there are in the republican caucus. and, you know, some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be. >> females. that was house speaker john boehner yesterday with the understatement of the year as news got out of the gop's latest strategy to attempt to secure more women voters. the national republican kong depressional committee is holding classes on how to talk to and talk about women folk. both female political opponents or friendly female constituents, it's dos and don'ts for guys like this. >> if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. but let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. >> why should you vote for me? because i do not wear high heels.
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>> you're part of the problem. the media is part of the problem as well. >> oh, come on. that's so easy. >> come on, carol. >> that's so easy. >> carol, you're beautiful, but you have to be honest as well. >> okay. i think we should leave it here. >> leave it right there. comments like those have helped create massive electoral weakness for republicans. but if you have to have a class to teach how to talk to women tweeted democratic senator and also woman claire mccaskill, you've got a much bigger problem than the class is going to solve. republicans' problems with women voters have been a huge electoral sore spot. most recently demonstrated in virginia where democrat terry mcauliffe won women voters by 9 points. and since president obama carried women voters by 11 points in last year's presidential election, since then just 14% of women say the republican party has moved closer to their perspective. now, they're not doing much to change their policy agenda which is actually most responsible for the gap in women voters. instead, republicans keep trying to repackage, repurpose
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themselves and shocker, they're doing it badly. last year there was this last-minute move by house republicans to name representative candace miller to chair the house administration committee which came after weeks of criticism of boehner for filling every one of the committee chair posts with white men. and more recently, this amazing photo from the government shutdown that shows eight white men ready to make a deal. tweeted by house majority leader eric cantor behind the hashtag, fairnessforall. joining me now is jess mcintosh from the political action committee. how successful do you envision this latest seminar? are they contracting with you or anyone else to actually teach the acceptable far? >> you mean have they consulted women on how to talk to women? >> yes. >> i'm not sure that they have women in the room to consult which might be part of the problem. i think it's going to be more successful than their last strategy, which was how to lose friends and alienate women. but this seems to be probably --
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i think it's like the tenth or 12th time that i have heard about a gop training course to teach house incumbents -- these are sitting members of congress. these are not first-time candidates -- how not to insult women. and the sad part about it is that that's their strategy to appeal to women voters. don't screw up. >> right. >> don't say something insulting. it's not appeal to them by talking to them about their lives, about the future, about what kind of government and country you envision, it's just maybe don't say some rapes are legit. that's about as good as it gets for the house republicans right now. >> john boehner talked about this in the intro where he said, look. i mean, the facts that are we don't have a lot of women in other caucus. >> females. >> females, that's right, sorry. >> i'm so glad you played that quick because maybe talking about them like they're not another species. >> i think don't go with females as your word might be a good opener. >> for democratic congress wo n
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women? yeah. >> 8.2% of the republican caucus is women. this is an overwhelmingly male caucus. >> yes. >> and that is part of the core issue here is that institutionally, there just aren't a lot of women around over in that house of representatives. >> yes. yes. and apparently they think that they can learn what being a woman is by osmosis if, you know, democrats are good at it because there are women around. in fact, democrats have a platform that appeals to women because they understand their daily lives. they know how tough it is out there. and they are talking to them about the -- about the priorities that matter to them. whereas republicans are absolutely hellbent on rolling back on clock on rights and freedoms that frankly our mothers secured for us. >> i think there's a really interesting aspect to that public opinion gap. and the electoral performance. i think the way we think of it -- and i think a big part of it, obviously, are issues like choice, reproductive freedom, birth control, things like that. >> sure. >> but that is not all of it.
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in fact, if you look into public opinion data, women are more likely to favor a larger safety net. they're more skeptical of big business. there are a whole lot of ways in which women just are more liberal along a range of issues, not just on the so-called sort of social issues, cultural issues. >> i think women are sort of the owners of the pocketbook economic reality in their families. they're the ones most likely to be dealing with child care. they're the ones most likely to be dealing with elder care. because of issues like equal pay which you should lump you sboo the crea into the category of things republicans don't get and democrats are actually working quite hard on, women are experiencing a tougher economic reality. so i think all of these fact saysers mean that a populist economic position appeals to women in a way that's stronger and more compelling. >> okay. but if that's the case, right, so if we stipulate, republicans are going to be -- i can't see a republican party not being anti-choice and anti-abortion. >> right. >> just because of the makeup of america's two-party system.
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and they're not going to come around on economics. is there anything that the republican party actually could do? >> well, during the rnc conference, they had a ladies pavilion. >> i think that's going to do it. >> i don't know what they could do, but i think the second part of what this training was about is a really interesting one. it's about talking to women voters and running against women poenlts. opponents. which is mission critical for them this year because some really strong democratic women have stepped up in places like kentucky and wisconsin and texas to take on these guys. and they offer a really clear contrast to voters in terms of priorities. >> jess mcintosh from emily's list, thank you so much. >> thanks. we will be right back with "click three." i like to eat a lot of fruits. love them all. the seal i get with the super poligrip free keeps the seeds from getting up underneath. even well-fitting dentures let in food particles. super poligrip is zinc free. with just a few dabs, it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat.
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we're back. and i want to share the three awesomest things on the internet today beginning with a new twist on the televised yule log. the hole takes are upon us and nothing says christmas tree like a heart and a roomful of cats.
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christmascats.tv. ♪ i wan a one-horse open sleigh♪ >> oh, it's so weird. this seasonal comic come to life has a live video screen filled with over-the-top carol, cats in christmas sweaters and seriously awkward tension between that lady and her elf friend. this source of odd fascination is all for a good cause. these kitties are all in need of a home for the holidays and can be adopted through the north shore animal league. terrific idea. decidedly less frightening than what had been originally proposed. the second awesomest thing brings to us the floor of the house. this week we've been showing you what the world will be like if we had a bizarro congress if they passed immigration reform. unfortunately we do not have one. we have john boehner's terrible do-nothing congress. if you're frustrated about that, you're not alone. a few nights ago democrats were calling for the passage of a
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comprehensive reform bill. they were sitting it the house gallery which got him reprimanded, and that's when the democratic congressman stepped in. >> the men and women spending their time here would not have to be in those galleries advocating if this house simply took up the bill. you think they want to be spending their time here, madam speaker? is what what you think? probably traveling at their own expense to washington? and you're saying we're addressing them, and that's what you're upset about, madam speaker? i want you to address the reason that they are here! they are here because our government is tearing apart their families, madam speaker. >> will the gentleman from colorado understand aull members -- >> i want the speaker to understand that the speaker is obstructing hr-15 from coming to the floor. >> that is pretty much how a lot of us feel about the issue. wohl done. the third one takes us to northern germany where this reporter braved the powerful winds of a massive storm ep
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swooiswo sweeping through europe. as the pair quickly discovered, they were not alone. [ speaking german ] >> imagine that, a storm so powerful it literally ripped the shirts off their being bas. now, while these particular photo bombers are germany, trade in the svelt dancers as seen during this snowstorm in cleveland. >> how long you been out here? >> oh, wooe been out a couple hours getting the building clear. >> hold on here. whoo! >> reporter: some people are just out of their minds, you know. what are you going to do? i mean, it's nuts. >> that's right. two can play at this game, germany. you can find all the links on our website allin@chris.com.
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so i can reach ally bank 24/7, but there ar24/7.branches? i'm sorry, i'm just really reluctant to try new things. really? what's wrong with trying new things? look! mommy's new vacuum! (cat screech) you feel that in your muscles? i do... drink water. it's a long story. well, not having branches let's us give you great rates and service. i'd like that. a new way to bank. a better way to save. ally bank. your money needs an ally. something has to change. >> for 50 years we have been talking peace and nonviolence. >> not anymore. >> you've got it. >> those were scenes from the new movie "mandela long walk to freedom," which by all indications does not shy away of the complexities of the life of mandela. in 1960, south african police
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officers opened fire on thousands of nonviolent black anti-apartheid protesters, killing 69 of them including 10 children. it was called the sharpville massacre, and it was such a significant moment in the struggle that 36 years later, mandela would travel to sharpville to sign the new south african constitution into law. sharpville changed something in nelson mandela and his colleagues in what was already at that time a long nonviolent movement for democracy. it led them to conclude mandela said that their policy to achieve a nonracial state through nonviolence had achieved nothing. mandela went on to co-found what would become the armed wing of the african national congress, spear of the nation which would commit its first attack on the government in december 1961. they explained their thinking in a manifesto, the time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices, submit or fight. that time has now come to south africa. we shall not submit, and we have no choice but to hit back by all
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means in our power in defense of our people, our future and our freedom. mandela wanted to start up with the form of violence that inflicted the least harm against individuals, the goal of sabotage over killing. but spear of the nations targeted attacks would end up killing at least 63 people. spear of the nation and the anc were deemed a terrorist organization by the south african government and the united states. mandela and his movement would ultimately move back toward nonviolent resistance but charlayne hunter-gault said something important on this show last night about mandela's decision during his 2 years behind bars. >> reporter: at one point they asked him if he would give up violence, they would release him. and he said no, i'm not going to do that. >> to the end of his days, he held out the legitimacy of armed struggle. that's something we grabble with as this great reconciler. he was a revolutionary.
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he came to believe that only through hardship and sacrifice and militant action can freedom only be won. we're going to talk about that coming up. [ delavane ] priority boarding is really important to us. you can just get on the plane and relax. [ julian ] having a card that doesn't charge you foreign transaction fees saves me a ton of money. [ delavane ] we can go to any country and spend money the way we would in the u.s. when i spend money on this card, i can see brazil in my future. [ anthony ] i use the explorer card to earn miles in order to go visit my family, which means a lot to me. ♪ i love chalk and erasers. but change is coming. all my students have the brand new surface. it has the new windows and comes with office, has a real keyboard, so they can do real work. they can use bing smartsearch to find anything in the world... or last night's assignment. and the battery lasts and lasts, so after school they can skype, play games, and my favorite...do homework. change is looking pretty good after all. ♪
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we're back and it's my great pleasure to be joined by esther arma. she's lived in ghana, reported from south africa. we're also joined by artist and writer molly crava. she wrote an article in today's "new york times" about the syrian refugee crisis. and michael moynihan for "the daily beast" where he just wrote a piece about mandela's legacy. esther, i want to start with you because your father -- there was -- the african national congress was part of the liberation movement across the continent of africa at a moment of throwing off these colonial regimes. and your father was in the government of one of these great leaders of an anti-colonial
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movement. and there was a time when the anc chose to engage in armed struggle, when they sent fighters to the ghana when your father was in that government to train there. >> yeah. >> tell me about that. >> so this is so bizarre to me in a lot of ways because it's very emotional. i was thinking about my dad who died november 24th of 2006, and if i was still doing a radio show, which i'm not now, he would have been the first guest that i would have had because the spirit of the nation it always framed as arms struggle. it is the resistance of a people to a government who are waging war against their people. and languaging it that way really matters because what happens when we think about nelson mandela, the three "ls," loss, legacy and leadership, and we start to separate the man and the movement where it's dangerous because it implies
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that this is magical space that he inhabits as an individual as opposed to the institutional structures that framed him and really shaped who he became. >> and there was this struggle inside the movement at the moment. >> absolutely. >> after sharpville. i think it's hard to kind of get into people's head the b barbarity. sharpville and had this profound effect. there was a struggle inside the movement about how long are we going to essentially walk into this? >> right. >> and when you talk about armed struggle, you talk about the way it's framed. michael, it was the move toward resistance, violent resistance, armed resistance, that was the thing that triggered the right to jump on the anc as terrorists. >> yes, it was. and i mean, look. the problem is -- and it's a good point that we talk about language here -- terrorism as a word is something that politicians and pundits have degraded so much over the past sort of 20 years and maybe even more is that we have to differentiate here.
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what the anc was doing, spear of the nation, this is not hamas. the important distinction here is that this -- these were people who were, you know, sort of living in a giant plantation, you know, bantu stands and the rest of it and the illegitimate government and totalitarian regime. how does one respond to that if one does not pick up a gun? it should be said that i don't think this is a great tactic in the long run. i don't think it was the right tactic. ultimately it didn't work in northern ireland, the church street bombing where there was lots of innocent people killed. but it's not terrorism. these are people waging a war against a government who has waged war upon them. and i think it was a perfectly legitimate struggle. >> you know, i feel like we have to -- this notion when we start to say that resistance by taking arms is not the right tactic, it doesn't work, is always articulated from the space of never understanding what it means to be under sustained
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attack. and so it is languaged only from a place of privilege because sharpville is not a single scenario. >> no. it was a part of -- >> it's a cycle. you know, you're talking about a people whose daily diet was institutionalized injustice, brutality. that was the reality that they lived under. >> in terms of what michael said, it's fascinating if you read the writing on this, it was the amount of theorizing that was done about this turn. this wasn't like we lost our cool, we're mad now. this was undertaken with tremendous amount of thought. >> absolutely. >> here's mandela's autobiography. we considered four times of nonviolent activities, sabotage, guerrilla warfare, terrorism and open revolution. terrorism inevitably reflected poorly on those who used it, undermining any public support, it might otherwise garner. guerrilla warfare was a possibility, but it made sense to start with the form of violence that inflicted the least harm against individuals. one of the reasons i wanted to have you here, you have just returned from talking to people
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engage in the struggle against bashar al assad in syria, which started as a nonviolent struggle and became a violent struggle when assad responded to nonviolence with massacres and brutality. >> the syrian revolution kicked off when some schoolboys in the town of dara copied graffiti that said that people want the regime to fall. al assad's cousin, the police chief, responded by arresting them, having their fingernails torn out. and when their parents asked for them to be returned, threatening to rape their mothers. there was not a possibility of peaceful resistance to bashar al assad. the syrian people tried as hard as they could. there were many, many peaceful protests. but they were met with such violence that remember aed resistance became inevitable. when a state makes nonviolent resistance impossible, it makes violent resistance inevitable. >> the violent resistance of the anc, even though it was not the prime tactic, how do you
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understand the significance of mandela saying he -- be given the choice to renounce violent resistance and not doing it in his later years of life of upholding the legitimacy of it through the entire time of his work in the struggle. >> you know what's so interesting it that because mandela is always languaged after martin luther king and gandhi, for me this moment around armed resistance always makes me think of malcolm x. he was a man of evolution within a revolution. and so him saying that i will not renounce armed struggle was that line in the manifestos, there's two choices, to submit or fight, and we will not submit. now, that is radical revolutionary language. and so the thing that is really painful and challenging for me is that i feel like what happens when we reduce the importance of this moment, i feel like what we're trying to do is aa
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anesthesize the moment. that was not what was real. this was about the power of movements to make change. that was the walk to freedom. >> michael, you've written a little bit about the way in which the violence has kind of been written out in part of this a anesthetizing. do you think that's part of the process? >> no, it's much easier that way. and you know, we are attracted to nelson mandela as a character because, you know, as i wrote in my column today, it is actually a simple morality tale. this is a tale of racial injustice and of a majority being lorded over by a brutal minority. so that, sure. and unfortunately, that kind of plains how we look at this a little bit. one of the things that always bothered me about mandela -- and incidentally, mandela himself, you know, rejected the beatification of nelson mandela. he said i'm no saint. i've made mistakes. i pointed out in my column
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today, and it was no more harsh than what bill keller pointed out. you know, what mandela -- he was associatesed with people that did the same things to their people, you know, gadhafi, castro that was done to him. and i think that was one moral failing. >> molly, is there something -- a lesson for the people on the american left for coming out of syria? >> i think syria has been an incredible challenge for the american left. on one hand, we want to claim that we are champions of freedom, but on the other hand, we've been incredibly conflicted as to what to do. do you arm the resist anticipate resistance in syria? do you reject anything that has to do with the american military? the american left didn't know. >> esther, molly, michael, thanks a lot. that is "all in" for this evening. we'll be back on monday. good night. soon after nelson mandela was released it from prison in 1990, he came on a tour

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All In With Chris Hayes
MSNBC December 6, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm PST

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